Stress and Hair Loss

My grandma always used to tell me not to become too stressed because my hair would fall out. It would scare me because I love my hair, but I never really believed her. Now, during my freshman year of college with a lot of changes occurring, I have been feeling stressed and this made me wonder, does stress really cause your hair to fall out?

Before I continue, it is important to note that it is normal to lose anywhere between fifty and one hundred hairs a day because of hair’s cycle. Just because you see some hairs in the drain or your brush doesn’t mean you are “losing hair.”

I happened upon several articles on the Internet that conclude that stress can potentially cause hair loss. I was a little nervous after confirming the relationship. Dr. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., explains that certain conditions that can stem from high stress levels can have the symptom of hair loss. The conditions that Hall-Flavin describes include alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and trichotillomania. Each are thought to be caused by high stress.To quickly summarize each condition, alopecia areata is sometimes caused by severe stress causing white blood cells to attack hair follicles and stop growth. Telogen effluvium is caused by stress and places growing hairs in a resting state where they are susceptible to falling out at a later time. Trichotillomania is when stress causes the person to have an uncontrollable to pull out their own hairs. Scary stuff, I know. This should give us all motivation to pay strict attention to our stress levels. Sudden hair loss can also be a sign of serious medical conditions such as thyroid problems.

Unfortunately, hair loss causation does not stop at stress. ABC News researched hair loss in women and discuss that in addition to stress, hair loss can occur after pregnancy, dramatic weight loss, major surgery, and it can also be hereditary or caused my certain medications. Fortunately, ABC also offers some prevention and treatment options in their article. Reducing anxiety and paying attention to your stress levels is important and if medication is potentially the cause, talking to a physician is recommended. With hereditary hair loss, the process can be slowed by applying minoxidil.